Msunduzi councillors slated for playing truant
Durban – COUNCILLORS in Msunduzi Municipality have come under fire for undermining service delivery by failing to attend council meetings, leaving while council is in session and scheduling their private meetings on the days they should be at work.
Several councillors on Wednesday asked to be excused early while others sent notes they would not be at the meeting. In some cases they did not give reasons for their absence.
Council speaker Eunice Majola and chief whip Vusi Ntshangase raised the issue yesterday, saying such behaviour should stop.
Municipal administrator Scelo Duma also complained about the high absenteeism rate among councillors.
In his state of the municipality report tabled a few weeks ago, Duma said there were councillors who missed several council meetings, saying they should be disciplined and fired by the cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC.
It took Majola more than an hour to get through the attendance register as councillors interrupted her to report they would be leaving, while others were reporting their colleagues were away for various reasons. She said this could lead to the council not sitting because of a lack of quorum.
Ntshangase labelled the behaviour as “disrespectful towards council functions”. She said that with one council meeting per month, it was unacceptable councillors were making excuses. “We need councillors to take the meeting of the full council seriously, we only meet once a month and we cannot accept excuses that people have doctor’s appointments.”
African Christian Democratic Party councillor Rienus Niemand said councillors’ failure to attend meetings was detrimental to service delivery.
“If there is no quorum, council cannot take decisions. One of the reasons the municipality is where it is is because of this. The same thing is happening at committee levels where they cannot sit because people simply do not attend.
“Councillors’ primary job description entails attending meetings; their absence affects service delivery and functioning of the municipality directly. With time management, they have 30 days to do other (personal) things,” said Niemand.